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Ask Steven

Which Indian batsman made hundreds in five successive Tests this century?

And who was the first man to take ten wickets in a first-class innings in India?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Gautam Gambhir steers the ball on to the off side, India v New Zealand, 3rd Test, Indore, 4th day, October 11, 2016

Gautam Gambhir scored five successive Test centuries, against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in 2009-10  •  AFP

I remember watching an Under-19 Test series in England in which Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Mathew Dowman both scored double-centuries. What is the highest individual score in an Under-19 Test? asked Brian Metcalfe from England
Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored 203 not out (a score he would later reprise twice in adult Test matches) in the first match of that U-19 series in 1993, at Trent Bridge (Michael Vaughan made 119 for England). A fortnight later, left-hander Mathew Dowman - who would go on to a reasonable county career with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire - made 267 for England in the second Test in Hove.
Dowman's 267 was the highest score in U-19 Tests at the time, but it was surpassed two years later by another left-hander, Australia's Clinton Peake, who hit 304 not out against India at the MCG in March 1995. It did not herald a glittering career for Peake, who later played nine matches for Victoria with a highest score of 46.
More recently, Pavan Shah hit 282 for India against Sri Lanka in Hambantota in July 2018. Shah has yet to play first-class cricket, but is still only 21.
In all, there have been 21 double-centuries in U-19 Tests - but only eight of the batsmen concerned have gone on to play men's Test cricket: Chanderpaul (West Indies), Gautam Gambhir, Abhinav Mukund and Cheteshwar Pujara (India), Marcus Trescothick (England), Marcus North (Australia), Nasir Jamshed (Pakistan) and Grant Elliott, whose U-19 double-century was for South Africa but who later played Tests for New Zealand.
Which Indian batsman made centuries in five successive Tests in the current century? asked Michael Sanders from England
I think the answer to this one might stump the average quizzer - it's not the usual suspects Tendulkar or Dravid or Kohli. The man in question was Gautam Gambhir, who scored centuries in successive Tests in New Zealand early in 2009, later in the year added two more against Sri Lanka, and then early in 2010 made another against Bangladesh. As this list shows, Gambhir was only the third man, after Jacques Kallis and Mohammad Yousuf, to score hundreds in five successive Tests - although they are all trumped by Don Bradman, who reached 100 in six successive Tests between 1936-37 and 1938. Bradman's sequence was interrupted by an injury that prevented him from batting at The Oval in 1938, and he scored two more hundreds in his next two matches, in 1946-47 - so actually made centuries in eight successive Tests in which he batted.
Who was the first man to take ten wickets in a first-class innings in India? asked Philip Tremayne from England
The first man to take all ten wickets in an innings in a first-class match in India was the much-travelled Australian allrounder Frank Tarrant, who took 10 for 90 with his slow left-armers - and then scored 182 not out - for the Maharajah of Cooch Behar's XI against Lord Willingdon's side in Poona in August 1918. Tarrant is a candidate for the tag of best player never to have appeared in an official Test: he missed out mainly because he left Australia to play for Middlesex in the English County Championship. An interesting book about Tarrant's unusual career, by the Australian writer Mike Coward, was published recently.
The first to take all ten in a Ranji Trophy match was the left-arm seamer Premangsu Chatterjee, with 10 for 20 as Bengal bowled Assam out for 54 in Jorhat in 1956-57. Two years before that, legspinner Subhash Gupte took 10 for 78 for Bombay against a combined touring team from Pakistan Services and Bahawalpur at the Brabourne Stadium in Bombay (now Mumbai). Since then Pradeep Sunderam (1985-86), Anil Kumble (in a Test in 1998-99) and Debasis Mohanty (2000-01) have taken all ten in first-class matches in India.
Asad Shafiq has scored 12 Test centuries with a best of just 137. Has anyone else made as many centuries with a lower highest score? In ODIs, another Pakistani, Saleem Malik, scored five centuries with a highest of only 102. Is that a record too? asked Shardul Rawat from India
This is a slightly contrived record, I suppose, but Asad Shafiq does indeed have the lowest highest score of anyone with ten or more Test centuries. He just pips India's Mohinder Amarnath, who made 11 tons with a highest score of 138. Next comes England's Allan Lamb, with 14 centuries and a highest of 142. And there's an honourable mention for Mark Waugh, who reached three figures 20 times in Tests but never exceeded his 153 not out against India in Bangalore in 1997-98 (Waugh did make a higher score - 173 against West Indies in Melbourne in 2000-01 - in one-day internationals).
In ODIs, as you suspect, Saleem Malik's highest of 102 - which he made twice - is the lowest for anyone with five or more centuries. Next comes Australia's Michael Bevan, who made six centuries with a highest of 108 not out, against England at The Oval in 1997. Yet another Pakistani, Babar Azam, has so far made 12 ODI centuries, with a highest score of 125 not out.
Are there any wicketkeepers who took a stumping in a Test but not a catch? asked Niran Mathur from India
There are five men who made a Test stumping but never took a catch - Englishmen Don Brennan, George Street and Neville Tufnell, Pakistan's Abdul Kadir, and Shahriar Hossain of Bangladesh. But pride of place has to go to Vijay Rajindernath of India, who made four stumpings (three off Subhash Gupte) but did not take a catch on his Test debut, in a ten-wicket victory against Pakistan in Bombay in 1952-53 - and was never selected again.
Another Indian one-Test wonder, Vijay Yadav, had two stumpings but only one catch against Zimbabwe in Delhi in 1992-93. The 19th-century Australian keeper Affie Jarvis finished with nine catches and nine stumpings in 11 matches, while his England contemporary Edmund Tylecote had five and five.
And there's a correction to one of last week's questions, about five-fors in the IPL, from Brijesh Subramaniam, among others:
"Apart from Mumbai Indians, no one has taken a five-for in the IPL against Kolkata Knight Riders or Royal Challengers Bangalore either. The best against KKR is 4 for 8 by Dwayne Smith for Gujarat Lions in Kanpur in 2016, while Ashish Nehra took 4 for 10 for Chennai Super Kings against RCB in Bangalore in 2015." This is correct. Apologies for my mistake, which was to say "in the IPL" - because both teams did concede a five-for in the short-lived Champions League T20, which ran from 2009 to 2014. Slow left-armer Pawan Negi took 5 for 22 for Chennai Super Kings against Kolkata Knight Riders in the final in Bangalore in October 2014, while tearaway fast bowler Shaun Tait took 5 for 32 for South Australia against the Royal Challengers in Bangalore in October 2011.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes